Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Enugu State Government thursday lamented the huge revenue loss through gaming activities such as Casino, Lotteries, Lotto, Pools betting and allied matters pledging its readiness to stem such leakages in order to shore-up its internally generated revenue (IGR).
The chairman of the State Gaming Commission, Mr. Harrison Ogara, read the riot act at the maiden meeting of the Commissionâ€™s Board with critical stakeholders in the gaming industry in the state.
He vowed to reactivate the extant laws and regulations of the commission in order to ensure that the huge revenue loss was checkmated.
Ogara stated that the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had given the Commissionâ€™s Board the mandate to revive and revamp the ailing commission and make it a strong pillar of her revenue source.
â€œIn the meantime, available records have shown that 37 years after this Commission was established, it has largely operated on deficit, unable to generate enough revenue to cover its annual personnel cost.
â€œCuriously too, both licensed and unlicensed operators within the sector have continued to thrive and it is estimated that Nigerians and foreign nationals operating in Enugu area generate over N2.5bn annually.
â€œThis trend where the state government is fragrantly denied its accruable revenue by operators must change. We must all do our jobs such that government, the operators and bettors go home satisfied that no one is shortchanged,â€ he said. The Gaming Commission chairman therefore directed the operators to come to the Commission to check and recheck their financial records with the Commission in order to clear their outstanding, warning that any operator in default would run the risk of being sanctioned and paying same as demanded by the new price regime.
â€œI think it is also proper to bring to your notice that the commission is currently re-branding its status and in a few days time, we shall be rolling out our new logo, rules, regulations, rates, taxes and fines for defaulters and other ancillary policies that would enhance our service delivery in line with the mandate of the governor,â€ he said.
The operators expressed gratitude to the Commission for the meeting and pleaded that any increment in tax or levy should be done with human face considering the difficult economic climate so that operators would not be driven underground.